Hello! This is my first fanfic about Cross Game, and my second fanfic ever. Cross Game was such an inspiring anime to me, I felt like I just had to write a tribute for it, or something.

This takes places two years after the Koshien.

Disclaimer: I do not own Cross Game!

"Isn't that… Kitamura-senpai?"

"Kitamura? The renowned Koshien pitcher who can throw a 160 kph?"

"No way!"

"Looks like you're the topic of everyone's conversations," Yuhei Azuma said casually, with his hands in his pockets, as he and the ace pitcher, Ko Kitamura, ambled down the shopping districts.

"You too," Ko countered, gesturing vaguely to a bunch of excited girls huddled together and wildly pointing at Azuma, the best clean-up hitter Seishu's ever had. "Seems like everyone in Japan knows us now."

Azuma nodded, apparently lost in his thoughts.

"Weird, huh?" Ko continued. "It's not like just got back from Koshien, or anything."

The two stars of Seishu Academy's old baseball team strolled leisurely on, until they met up with Akaishi and Nakanishi by coincidence, both two valuable players that used to be on their team.

"Oi, Ko, Azuma!" Nakanishi exclaimed. He was holding a big burger and plastic bags filled with other kinds of food. "What are you two doing here?"

"Nothing in particular," said Azuma absentmindedly.

Ko suddenly realized the catcher looking at him quite strangely. "What's up, Akaishi?" he asked.

"Oh," said Akaishi. "I was just wondering – isn't today your birthday, Ko?"

"Yeah, it is," Ko grinned.

"Ah!" Nakanishi uttered, almost dropping his burger. "You're an adult now!"

Ko nodded. Today was, in fact, his twentieth birthday.

"We should go and celebrate!" Nakanishi shouted gleefully. "Maybe eat some Napolitan at the Tsukishimas' batting place?"

Ko shook his head. "Maybe later. I have something I need to do."

As Ko and Azuma sauntered on, Akaishi whispered in Ko's ear as they passed them.

"Her birthday gift?"

Ko smiled, and mouthed back, "In a way."

Azuma went off to buy some groceries before Ko reached the jewelry shop. Or maybe he just wanted to be by himself.

The little bell that hung to the door handle rang as Ko entered the shop. The employees seemed surprised to see a guy in there.

"How may I help you?" An employee rushed to his aid.

From his pocket, he took out a neatly folder piece of paper that he had gently taken down from his wall before he left his house.

It was a list of birthday gifts Ko should buy his ten-year-old crush, Wakaba Tsukishima, from the ages eleven through twenty, made by Wakaba herself, since Ko could never figure out what to get her.

Today was his birthday, so it was hers too. He bought her a gift every year, even though she passed away a long time ago. He would never forget her, though.

Ko stared at the piece of paper Wakaba had given him all those years ago. At the bottom of the paper, it read: 20th Birthday: a wedding ring.

Back then, everyone knew that they were meant for each other. Born on the same day, at the same hospital, both of them were definitely soul mates. It was simple. Ko liked Wakaba. Wakaba liked Ko.

However, no one could predict the tragic accident that occurred.

Ko told the employee what he wanted. The employee giggled, and led him to the display case. After a few moments, Ko picked out one that he thought she would like.

"Thank you," Ko said, and walked out of the store.

He met up with Azuma almost instantly.

"You got it?" Azuma asked coolly.

Ko nodded. "I don't know, though. It's not really her thing."

Azuma shrugged, and Ko thought maybe he saw a bit of regret in the fourth batter's eyes, but he kept silent.

As they began to part at a turn, Azuma turned back to Ko with the jealousy that was once there completely gone.

"Go for it."

"All right!"

They went their separate ways as Azuma, the freeloader, headed back to Ko's house, and Ko journeyed on to the cemetery.

The rough sounds of his sneakers pushing against the hard rocky ground seemed to echo throughout the entire cemetery. That was normal. Why should anyone be in a gloomy cemetery on a bright sunny day where they could be playing baseball?

Ko paced down the lanes which he was so familiar with, during the countless days he spent here, walking the same steps every day to reach the grave that had the name Wakaba Tsukishima carved on it.

The box with the ribbon on it was still next to her grave. In the box was where he put all of Wakaba's birthday presents. Ko reached for the box…

"What's up?"

A voice he knew so well belonged to a girl one year younger than him, who emerged from the shadows of the cemetery's trees.

"It's my birthday, in case you forgot," Ko pointed out.

"How could I forget?" she scoffed. "So… why are we here?"

Ko frowned. He didn't expect it to be so sudden. For a moment, he was unsure on what he was supposed to do.


He looked up at the cloudless sky, and for a second, he thought could see Wakaba's face up there, smiling down at him. After her death, things had been so confusing and distorted. But soon, he began to develop deep bonds with someone else. Maybe Wakaba's spirit was here, to cheer him on, to tell him that it was okay to let her go. That was a ridiculous thought. But still, it calmed his nerves.

Ko got on one knee, and flipped out the golden ring he had just bought minutes ago, which had cost him his whole year's allowance.

"Aoba Tsukishima… will you –"

Before he could finish his sentence, Aoba smacked him on his head with a rolled up newspaper.

"Ow!" he complained jokingly to Wakaba's younger sister, the girl he was dating. "What was that for? I was being all formal and everything."

"Of all the places you could have proposed to me, you had to do it here?" Aoba exclaimed, but smiling and blushing at the same time. "Won't you stand up, Ko? You look weird trying to act formal."

Ko quietly obeyed her order. "So…"

Suddenly, he was embraced by a hug from Aoba.

"Yes. Yes, of course!"

Usually, he would be unsure on what to do during these kind of situations, but he figured he had enough practice, so after a moment of frozen shock, he hugged her back warmly and let out a sigh of relief.

"Thanks… Aoba."

Well, this is my first attempt at creating a short story, so I hope it didn't suck.

Please review! I would really appreciate it.

Anyway, thanks for reading!